Internet's no hiding place for criminals; West Midlands Police win award for hi-tech action.
A HI-TECH scheme to cut the trade in stolen goods on the internet - pioneered by West Midlands Police - is being taken up by forces across the country.
Using the method, officers are able to find out how and where stolen property is being sold on the internet.
It can also be used to tackle people selling weapons as it can pinpoint where they are being brought into the country and their intended destination.
The system uses similar technology to that used to trace people who are using the internet for child pornography.
Stuart Hyde, assistant chief constable of West Midlands Police, said: "This is a major achievement and demonstrates how local forces, working with industry, can use hi-tech investigation skills to impact on local crime.
"The techniques that have brought child abusers to justice are just as effective when tackling mainstream criminality such as robbery and burglary, where people try to hide behind the supposed anonymity of the internet to sell stolen goods."
Now the force has won the 2004 International Law Enforcement Cybercrime award for the scheme.
The Society for the Policing of Cyberspace presented the award in Canada to officers from the force for their innovative work with the internet auction website, Ebay UK.
The scheme, which is the brainchild of the force's Hi-Tech Crime Unit, is based on the analysis of confiscated computers and close working between police and Ebay.